man surrounded by confetti
When employees feel appreciated, it reflects on the customer experiences they deliver. PHOTO: Ambreen Hasan

Provide a strong employee experience and your customer experience will benefit. The logic is clear, but evidence is mounting of the strong link between the two. A 2017 study (fee charged) by customer experience research firm Temkin Group found those companies providing significantly better customer experiences than competitors also have 60 percent more engaged employees. 

YouEarnedit also released a report last year that found 77 percent of employees said the impact and appreciation they feel at work affects their ability to deliver a high-quality customer experience.

“Great employees are the foundation for exceptional brand success,” said Chris Spears, a co-founder and chief marketing technology officer at Atlanta-based Arke, a brand experience consultancy specializing in implementations of marketing technology solutions. “They're at least as important as your customers and clients, so they should be treated with the same levels of trust, respect and professionalism." 

When you embrace this attitude, Spears added, it's easy to draw parallels between employee experience and customer experience. The lesson? Do each well. 

So are companies investing as much effort into employee experience as they are in customer experience? Some need help, for sure, experts told CMSWire. See what lessons they recommend borrowing from your customer experience efforts to produce a better employee experience:

Hire People Who Share Your Values, But Not Necessarily Your Point of View

Spears said that since your clients and customers have many different backgrounds and experiences, your ideal workforce “should be just as energized and diverse.” Arke tries to hire people who are “experienced and confident enough to bring their own ideas to the table, but who are aligned with the shared expectations of our company values.”

Consider Geography an Opportunity, Not a Challenge

Remote work is a way of life. And it shouldn’t be an impediment to hiring good, quality employees who your company can trust. And trust is a huge part of offering a solid employee experience.

“As long as trust, respect, and integrity are deeply embedded in your company DNA, then it's easy to embrace remote working,” said Spears. "It enables you to hire the best person for the job — not just the best person in your city or metro area.” 

Are there risks? Sure, Spears said, but we work with customers in different locations all the time. “Why should it be any different working with employees in various locations?” he asked. “We've found the trust we place in our remote workers is returned exponentially in the form of high-performance and productivity.” And that can only mean good things for customers. 

Related Story: 5 Ways to Bring Out the Best in Your Remote Workforce

Apply CX Analysis to EX Analysis

Dion Hinchcliffe, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research, said lessons in customer experience are starting to inform employee experience in areas like sentiment analysis, seamless multichannel user experiences, continuous data-driven performance management, consumer-grade marketing campaigns for internal IT, and even high-gloss digital brand management for the digital workplace. 

Employees increasingly expect their workplace experiences to match their experiences as customers and are often disconcerted when they don't match. 

“Consumerized employee experiences,” Hinchcliffe said, “ are also becoming a key learning and proving ground for workers to become competent in creating new customer experiences in the first place."

Sharpen Your Onboarding

Carrie Basham Young, CEO and founder of enterprise social strategy and consulting firm Talk Social to Me, said more efforts need to be put into onboarding. 

“The most prevalent — and astounding — failure I see at organizations is the lack of a formal onboarding process to help new hires understand the ins and outs of a business,” said Basham Young, a member of CMSWire’s Reader Advisory Board. “Companies that jump at the chance to acquire a new customer oftentimes ignore the first days and weeks of a new employee's experience, leaving people to flail without a ‘North Star.’”

Assure your new employees a high-quality, informative and personalized first month on the job in order to retain the loyalty of your best talent, and not just your best customers.

Related Story: When Onboarding New Employees, Make Your First Impression Count

Customize Employee Experience

Demographic-based customization plays a critical role in your customer experience efforts. Basham Young said apply the same customization to the employee experience as well. Segment your employees based on behaviors, as you do with your customers. 

For example, consider an organization with two distinct populations: headquarters-based knowledge workers and plant-based manufacturing teams. “The employee experience for each of these populations,” Basham Young said, “is considerably different given the nature of their work. And companies need to provide content and access points that align to the distinct nature of each group's work. Communications is not a one-size-fits-all discipline anymore, and tailor-made content for different worker types is more important than ever.”

Use Technology to Make Your Company More Human

Relationships and connections between employees will make for a better workforce. Your company may want to advance team collaboration, Arke’s Spears said. “Does it matter whether you opt for Slack or Microsoft Teams or Skype? Probably not, beyond personal preference. What really matters is advancing relationships and connections between your employees, whether they work on different floors or from different locations. Focus on the outcomes you want to achieve — in this case, stronger team spirit and knowledge sharing — rather than fixating on a specific platform.”

Embrace Experiences

Companies can boost customer engagement by offering unique experiences, Spears said, citing in-store sampling or sponsored events. The same thing is true for employee experience, he added. 

“It’s great to bring the whole team together to relax, socialize and get to know each other on a more personal level,” Spears said. “We do multiple things throughout the year, including a full day on a houseboat as well as a three-day retreat at a resort in the mountains. The focus is on fun and socialization."

Those shared experiences create lasting value in the form of deeper, more meaningful relationships, Spears said. "They are excellent investments in our employees and demonstrate how much we value each person on our team. There is nothing more important than that.”

Use Data — And More Data

Using data to find patterns of behavior on a team-by-team or manager-by-manager basis is just starting to take off, Basham Young said. “We are moving toward hyper-contextualization when it comes to the employee experience, and the most forward-looking organizations will be able to understand behaviors and patterns of employees as they roll up into individual leaders or on specific projects.”

One-on-one coaching and analysis with team managers is more important than ever, she said. “Smart companies,” Basham Young added, “are drilling down into the effectiveness of many types of employee communication and engagement programs at a very granular level. When there's success in one department, there may be failure in another.” 

Value Your Employees As You Do Your Customers

You value your customers, of course. But do you value them more than your employees?

Autumn Manning, co-founder and CEO of YouEarnedIt, said companies that don’t put their employees first will continue to over-invest in quick wins and tactics to woo customers and increase their brand loyalty. “In reality,” she said, “the best way to improve your bottom-line metrics are the brand ambassadors already working at your company. When companies invest in their people and the employee experience, the ROI on critical business metrics is clear.”

Make your employees feel valued because if they know how their work impacts the company for the better, that will inspire them to produce better customer experiences.